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Metamaterials to reduce seismic vulnerability

A research collaboration between the DICAM, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH) and the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH) promotes a metamaterials based strategy for seismic protection.

The journal "Scientific Reports" published the work "Engineered metabarrier as shield from seismic surface waves" (, that sums up the results of a research collaboration between Prof. Alessandro Marzani and Dr. Antonio Palermo, researchers from the DICAM, and Prof. Chiara Daraio and Dr. Sebastian Krodel, from the ETH Zurich and the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH). The research proposes a new approach to reduce the seismic vulnerability of buildings and urban centers through the use of metamaterials. Using numerical simulations and scaled experiments, the researchers discuss the possibility of designing a metabarrier built by resonant devices embedded in the ground which can convert the surface seismic waves in bulk waves that dissipate in the depth of the soil.

A metabarrier designed to attenuate seismic surface waves at frequencies of 1-10 Hz and realized avoiding any intervention on the structure, can represent a viable alternative to traditional seismic retrofitting approaches for existent artifacts and strategically important infrastructures.